The makeover of Kia’s minivan is such a dramatic one that it even includes an all-new name: Carnival. The 2022 Carnival replaces the aging Sedona in Kia’s lineup and its boxy SUV-like styling is no accident, as the Korean automaker aims to capitalize on the success of its critically-acclaimed and hot-selling Telluride SUV. Large wheels, crossover-like proportions, and signature daytime running lights that flow into the grille give the van an upscale-SUV vibe that reminds us of a Range Rover. All Carnival models are powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A host of driver-assistance features are offered as standard including automated emergency braking. Infotainment tech gets an upgrade as well with an optional dual-display setup with digital gauges and a navigation-equipped center touchscreen.
The Carnival is all-new for 2022, with updated styling, features, and technology to help it better compete with the likes of the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and newly redesigned Toyota Sienna minivans.
The 2022 Carnival is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 churning out a healthy 290 hp; an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive, unfortunately, is not on the menu, as the Carnival will be offered only as a front-wheel-drive model. The Pacifica has an optional plug-in-hybrid powertrain and the new-for-2022 Sienna comes only as a hybrid, but we don’t expect Kia to offer such a setup on the Carnival, at least not right away. Kia says the Carnival can tow up to 3500 pounds. During our initial test drive, we were impressed with the Carnival’s well-balanced ride and handling. It delivered a smooth ride when cruising and felt composed in corners. The refined V-6 engine provides sprightly acceleration and powered the Carnival to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds at our test track.
Fuel-economy ratings from the EPA for the 2022 Carnival are 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, which are slightly better than the 2022 Sedona’s numbers. We haven’t had a chance to subject the 2022 Carnival to our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test to see how it stacks up against the Pacifica, Odyssey, and Sienna, but when we do we’ll update this story with its results. For more information about the Carnival’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
The Carnival’s dashboard and front-seat area are both more modern and accommodating than the outgoing Sedona’s. A large center console and an optional Mercedes-style dual-screen infotainment system with a digital gauge display are notable design changes. The upscale SX-Prestige trim comes with leather upholstery and reclining second-row seats with pop-up footrests. A panoramic sunroof is optional and provides a large opening over the second row so the kids can get some fresh air. Kia says that interior spaciousness has been improved on the new Carnival; both the van’s wheelbase and overall length have been stretched to provide more room for people and cargo. In our testing, we fit 14 carry-on suitcases behind the third row of seats and a whopping 48 in total with all seats folded. That’s a ton of cargo space, but it should be noted that both the Pacifica and Odyssey proved slightly more spacious.
Interior technology and infotainment takes a big leap forward in the 2022 Carnival. While a single 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard, dual 12.3-inch displays that stretch across two-thirds of van’s dashboard are optional, with one serving as a digital gauge display and the other performing infotainment duties. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard. Up to nine USB ports dot the Carnival’s cabin. A rear-seat entertainment system is standard starting on the SX trim but a 12-speaker Bose stereo is limited to the top-spec SX-Prestige trim.
Kia is offering a lot more standard driver-assistance features this time around, including lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlamps, and blind-spot monitoring, all of which will help the Carnival compete with the Pacifica, Odyssey, and Sienna. For more information about the Carnival’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features are likely to include:
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